A Ukrainian sports fishing world champion disappeared after a world championship in Italy in a bid to avoid the draft in Ukraine.
Professional angler Artur Bilan, 34, gave the Ukrainian national team the slip after competing in the World Street Fishing Championship in Italy.
Daniil Lyasov, the captain of the Ukrainian team, made the announcement on Facebook and shared screenshots from conversations he had with Bilan.
Bilan, who has over 22,500 followers on Instagram explained that he was afraid to return to Ukraine because he had received two summonses.
He also explained that he had not seen his brother, who lives in Europe, for a long time, and wanted a “peaceful life” for his wife and child.
He also said that he did not want to “get caught up in the war”.
Bilan, who won the 2021 World Spinning Fishing Championships, is quoted in local media as saying: “We have a small child who needs to go to school and not hear explosions. And, of course, my wife doesn’t want me to go to war or be recycled.
“But it is true – I have already received two calls and we have no opportunity to resolve the issue.
“And we want to live! Of course, I understand that my career in Ukraine is over, but this is my life and I have to live it and I am my own judge. This decision was difficult for me.”
Lyasov commented: “Arthur Bilan, after an unsuccessful performance at the World Cup as part of the Ukrainian national team, made ‘such a difficult decision’.
“While everyone was sleeping and resting before going home.”
CEN contacted Bilan for comment and he said: “Yes, it’s a shame for the team, but I did it after the competition!
“We plan to be in Europe and continue to do our business – that is the popularisation of sport fishing in the world.”